Saturday, November 23, 2013

Pindi Chole Recipe

Chole Masala used to be my  frequent restaurant order that I used to make many years back until I figured out how to make it at home. I normally make an onion-tomatao based chole and have wondered how hotels get that dark brownish and thick texture. I was browsing through one of Tarla Dalals' cookbooks and spotted this Rawilpindi Chole recipe. I immediately tried the recipe and was very glad about being able to reproduce the restaurant type "Chole Masala".

The anaradhana [Pomegranate seed] powder and Jeera powder are the two spices that give the dish a very dark brown shade, so dont skip them. They are available in all Indian grocery stores. Also cooking chole with a tea-bag to induce its flavor added a different kind of taste to this chole dish.


Serves - 4
Spice Level - Moderate
Prep Time - 30 min
Cook time - 15 min

Channa/Chole - 3/4 cup, washed and soaked overnight or for 8 hrs.
Onion - 1 Large, chopped finely
Tomatoes - 2, blanched and pureed
Green chilli - 4, slit in half
Ginger - 1 inch piece, cut into thin strips
Ginger-Garlic [GG] paste - 1 Tsp
Chole Masala - 1 tsp
Garam Masala - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 Tsp
Anaradhana [Pomegranate seed ] powder - 1.5 Tsp
Jeera [Cumin] powder - 1.5 Tsp
Tea leaves - 2 Tsp or 1 Tea bag
Cardamom - 2
Cinnamon - 1 small piece
Baking soda - a pinch
Oil - 2 Tbsp
Salt - as per need

How do you do it

1. Use a small cloth and put the tea leaves/tea bag, cinnamon, cardamom into it and make it into a bundle. Add the soaked channa, 2 cups water, baking soda, little salt and the bundle into the cooker. Pressure cook the soaked channa for 2-3 whistles or until they are cooked well. Keep aside.

2. Heat oil in a kadai. Add onions and saute well. Add green chilli, ginger, GG paste and saute well. Add the tomato paste now and cook for another 5 minutes until the tomato puree is cooked well.

3. Add all the spices powders now - Chole masala, Garam Masala, Coriander powder, Cumin powder, Anaradhana powder, mix well and saute for a few minutes till the spices are cooked.

4. Keep aside 1/4 cup of channa and mash it well with a ladle. Add all the remaining channa with little cooked water and mix well. Add remaining salt and let the curry boil for a few minutes.

5. Now add the mashed channa too and mix well. This is done to thicken the curry and is up-to you if you want to do this.

6. Boil for few more minutes and switch off flame.

Before serving, squeeze in little fresh lime juice and pair this with Rotis or Jeera Rice.

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Chettinad Kavuni Arisi | Sticky Black Rice Pudding | Karthigai Deepam Special 2013

Kavuni Arisi or Karuppu Arisi or Black Rice Pudding is a unique delicacy from the prestigious Chettinad Cusine. Black glutinous rice is a fibrous & highly nutritious grain, packed with all the essential amino acids, iron, zinc, copper, carotene and several important vitamins. I am sure it must be available in all Asian stores in the US but the best quality of this rice is produced in Singapore and that is where I get this rice from.

Any Chettinad feast is incomplete without this sweet. This Black Rice is cooked until soft and sticky and mixed with ghee, sugar, cardamom and coconut flakes. Once cooked the black rice renders a beautiful deep purple color to the rice and it looks lovely. Once you have this rice, making this dessert is extremely simple. To me this is the most easiest sweet that I can ever make. The soft chewy texture of the rice and the subtle hint of ghee and sugar makes this Chettinad sweet absolutely delicious. This is also a very different dessert to adorn your dinner table when you invite friends over. Do try this one out and let me know how you like it.

Today being Karthigai Deepam, decided to celebrate the occasion with this special dessert :).  We lit these candle lamps and few proper traditional agal vizhakus outside our door, in the balcony and several other places and the entire home looked extra beautiful today :). Hope you guys had a super Karthigai Deepam day as well.


Serves - 2
Cook time - 30 min

Black Rice/Kavuni Arisi - 3/4 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Grated Coconut - 3 Tbsp
Cardamom powder - 1 Tsp
Ghee - 2 Tbsp

How do you do it

1. First wash and soak the rice in enough water for 3-4 hours. This makes cooking the rice quicker.

2. Once soaking time is over, dump the rice in a pressure cooker with the same water to retain its nutrition, [2.5 cups water needed for 3/4 cup of rice] and pressure cook in medium flame for 20-30 minutes. Switch off flame.

3. Once the pressure releases naturally and while the rice is hot, mash the rice roughly with a potato masher. Mix in ghee, cardamom powder, sugar and grated coconut and mix well.

Serve this in bowl and garnish with some grated coconut.


1. Once pressure cooking is done, check if the rice is cooked well, if not you can cook for some more time. The rice should be really soft and pulpy. If you have time, I would recommend soaking the rice for 6-8 hrs to reducing pressure cooking time.

2. If its cooked well already and there is excess liquid, you can drain the liquid alone. The above proportions of rice and water should work fine in most cases.

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Friday, November 15, 2013

How to Boil Peanuts

Boiled peanuts is one of my favorite snacks and brings the shopping scene in T.Nagar, Chennai at once into my mind. Tamil Nadu is the only state in India where I find street vendors selling boiled peanuts, and the best part is that they are already peeled and you get so much variety in them - with masala powder, chaat powder mangai etc. Mangai and kadalai are such an integral part of my Chennai shopping agenda :).

Though I love these, it has taken me years to actually make them at home. During my Diwali trip to my sister-in-laws place this year, we were discussing how we have similar food choices and peanuts were one of them. She regularly makes boiled peanuts at home and  I decided to pick the habit too :).  It is pretty simple, water, salt and peanuts in a pressure cooker for some time and its done. Quite an interesting replacement for popcorn during the movie watching session, dont you think ? :)


Serves - 2
Cook time - 20 min

Raw Peanuts - 1 Lb
Salt 1/4 cup [flat measure on the cup]
Water - 4 cups

How do you do it

1. First wash the peanuts to remove all the dirt from its outer skin.

2. Put the peanuts, salt and water in a pressure cooker and mix well. Pressure cook for 20 minutes or for 6-8 whistles.

3. Let the pressure release naturally. Once done, transfer it to another bowl along with the water. DO not drain the water. The taste actually lies in peeling the peanuts and eating those soft and juicy salted peanuts. Enjoy!

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Spicy Kasoori Methi Chicken Gravy

If you are a regular visitor here you would know that non-veg recipes are very limited here, mostly because I don't cook them too often and have  limited exposure when it comes to eating-cooking chicken/fish based dishes. Off-late I have been quite open to trying a lot of shrimp and fish dishes in restaurants here in Tampa and realized my taste-buds are more suited to sea-food than red meat. I am happy about that because sea-food is definitely very nutritious and high in protein content and don't mind becoming accustomed to that kind of food :). Chicken strictly has to be either tandoori based or really hot Chettinadu style for me to even consider eating them.

I tasted this Kasoori Methi Chicken in my Sis-in-laws' place a few months back and immediately fell in love with it. I always look forward to eating non-veg dishes cooked by my SIL, she cooks them really spicy and tasty and I like them that way. I got an outline of the recipe from her and added my own twist to the dish and was extremely happy when it turned out to be absolutely delicious. If you are fond of Chettinadu based chicken dishes I am sure you would love this :).


Serves - 4
Spice Level - High
Prep Time - 20 min
Cook time - 20 min

Chicken - 1/2 kg , cut into small pieces
Onion - 2, chopped finely
Tomato - 2, chopped roughly
Green chillies - 4, slit lengthwise
Ginger-Garlic paste - 1 Tbsp
Plain Red chilli powder - 1 Tbsp
Coriander powder - 2 Tsp
Pepper Powder - 1 Tbsp
Cumin Powder - 1 Tbsp
Kasoori Methi - 1/3 cup, tightly packed
Salt - as per need
Water - 1/2 cup or as per need
Oil - 4-5 Tbsp
Cloves - 3
Cinnamon - 1 inch piece, one
Cardamon - 2
Pepper - 1 Tsp
Cumin - 1  tsp

For marination of chicken

Pepper powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Lemon - juice of half a lemon
Yogurt - 1 Tbsp
Salt -1 Tsp
Plain red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Ginger-Garlic paste - 1 tsp

How do you do it

1. Firstly, clean and wash the chicken and marinate it with the ingredients under "for marination". Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hr. I did this overnight and would suggest doing that if you have time.

2. Take a small pan and dry roast the kasoori methi for a couple of minutes until it turns a darker shade and keep aside.

3. Heat oil in a kadai, add cloves, cinnamon, pepper, cardamom and let them roast. Add onions, green chilli and ginger-garlic paste and saute well until they are cooked well.

4. Add tomatoes now and little bit of salt and mix well and saute until the tomatoes are soft and mushy and cooked well. Add all the spice powders - coriander, pepper, chilli, cumin and saute well. Add the marinated chicken pieces, saute them for 3 minutes, then add 1 cup water and remaining salt now mix well, close the kadai with a lid and cook in medium flame for 7-8 minutes or until the chicken is almost cooked.

5. Remove lid now, lower flame completely, crush the roasted kasoori methi and add it to the kadai and cook for 5-8 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked and is tender and all the flavors are blended well. The consistency of this dish is semi-dry or with little gravy. Add water according to the consistency you prefer.

6. Switch off flame, and let the chicken remain in the kadai for 15 minutes for it to absorb all the flavor.

7. Serve this with rotis or dosai for a super combination.

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